August 13, 2017

Market Guide to Common Fishes in the Philippines

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  • The Philippines is not only a country reflected on well-preserved artifacts, canvases, fabrics, or chiseled molds, with a history worth revisiting, but a country also known for its rich marine biodiversity.

    To give you an idea regarding popular types of local fish in the country, we have listed some that would also be of great use in your next market hunt, together with their Filipino names, English names, scientific names, distinct characteristics, and market price.

    Alumahan (Long-Jawed Mackerel; Rastrelliger kanagurta)

    These mackerel species belong to the same fish family as tunas (family Scombridae). They are widely common in the Philippines and are generally found in shallow coastal waters.

    The alumahan fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 280 per kilo.

     

    Bisugo (Threadfin Bream; Nemipterus japonicas)

    These species are commonly found in tropical and salty waters in the Indian and Western Pacific ocean, which vary in sizes as well. They are relatively popular in the Philippine market because they are versatile for many dishes.

    The bisugo fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 350 per kilo.

     

    Salay-Salay/ Salaybutang/ Apahay (Yellowtail Scad; Selaroides leptolepis)

    These species are small and somewhat easy to catch although their meat is slightly coarse. They belong in the scad family and are known for the distinct yellow details in their bodies and tails.

    The salay-salay fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 380 per kilo.

     

    Galunggong (Mackarel Scad; Decapterus sp)

    This fish is extremely popular in Philippine markets, especially with the masses as they are relatively inexpensive and remarkably tasty. They are found in salt waters especially in Northeastern Palawan and in Navotas-dubbed as the country’s fishing capital.

    The galunggong fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 60 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Salmon (Threadfin Salmon; Eleutheronema tetradactylum)

    There are threadfin salmon around Philippine waters but most of these fishes are imported and increasingly becoming popular.

    The salmon fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 650 per kilo.

     

    Bangus (Milk Fish; Chanos chanos)

    Bangus is an important seafood in the Pacific with the Philippines even has a bangus festival in Dagupan where there is a major milkfish aquaculture industry. This fish has olive green skin with silvery scales with a milky white bottom.

    The bangus fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 130 per kilo.

     

    Dalagang Bukid (Yellowtail fusilier; Caesio cuning)

    This fish got its name because of its unique red color. The color red is often used in describing Filipina farm girls wearing a red wrap-around skirt in the province.

    The dalagang bukid fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 280 per kilo regular sized, Php 380 per kilo for Dalagang Lapad, a bigger and fatter fish of the same kind.

     

    Dilis (Anchovy; Engraulidae)

    This type of fish is extremely popular in the Philippine market, especially to be used as spicy bar chow or as toppings on rice. The dilis fish is common in shallow saltwater reefs.

    Dilis is available in public markets usually priced at Php 200 per kilo.

     

    “Yellow-Fin” (Big eye tuna; Thunnus obesus)

    The big eye tuna is of the same species of the yellow-fin tuna (Thunnus albacares) thus also having a yellow dorsal fin and is more common in Philippine markets to be (mis)identified as “yellow-fin” tuna. This fish is commonly found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans.

    The “yellow-fin” fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 230 per kilo.

     

    Kitang (Spotted Scat; Scatophagus argus)

    This flat fish is a popular brackish water fish with a silver-bronze body with black spots. In Philippine dishes it is usually cooked with vinegar, the process is called paksiw in Tagalog.

    The kitang fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 200 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Maya-Maya (Red Snapper; Lutianus sp)

     

    This type of fish is popular in Philippine markets due to their delicate and flavorful white meat. They usually vary in size that can either be small or big. They are known for their vivid and distinct red color and are commonly found in salty environments and shallow reefs.

    The Maya-Maya fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 350 per kilo.

     

    Sapsap (Ponyfish/ Slipmouth; Leiognathus sp)

    This type of fish is usually characterized by their slimy bodies, small scales, and a widely extending mouth. They only grow under six (6) inches in length. Because of its abundant population in its natural habitat- the shallow coastal waters. This feed is also usually used for various food cuisines especially in the country.

    The sapsap fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 380 per kilo.

     

    Tulingan/ Tambakol (Mackarel Tuna)

    With its vertical stripes at the back, deeply forked tail, and a small velvety touch of scale, this fish is usually found offshores of both temperate and tropical seas commonly swimming with a school across the deep ocean.

    The tulingan fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 60 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Hiwas/ Tahas (Mene Moonfish; Mene maculata)

    This type of fish is usually found in muddy, salty waters and often in deep waters. They are often mistaken for the sapsap fish due to their similar features- flat body and big head but the hiwas has a protruding belly.

    The hiwas fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 150 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Lapu-Lapu (Grouper; Epinephelus sp)

     

    Groupers are a high-valued type of fish because of their white, flaky flesh which is usually distributed in markets either dead or fresh. They are commonly found in saltwater and are hard to raise because of their carnivorous nature. A famous dish using this fish is escabeche or pickled fried fish.

    The Lapu-Lapu fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 450 per kilo.

     

    Salmonete (Striped Red Mullet; Mullus surmuletus)

     

    This type of fish has distinct bright red colored scales and yellow stripe on its body usually caught near the shore. Their white meat is delicate to cook and is often prepared in a paksiw dish.

    The salmonete fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 380 per kilo.

     

    Tilapia (Mayan Cichlids)

    Covering the 4.30% of the inland contribution of fisheries last 2016, this fish is obviously one of the most abundant fish that can be found in the Philippine archipelago. The term “tilapia” however, covers nearly hundreds of different species in general.

    The tilapia fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 60 per 1/2 kilo for the regular size; Php 135 per kilo for the large size.

     

    Endangered: Tawilis (Sardinella tawilis)

    This type of fish is migratory that can only be found in the Philippines, in Lake Taal, which is the 3rd largest lake in the country. The fish was announced endangered on January 2019 and is now illegal to be bought and sold in markets.

    What do you think of these common fishes found in the Philippine archipelago? Share your thoughts with us below!


    Article has been updated on April 2019 by Heloise Diamante

               
               
    Recent Comments

    So erroneous!
    Should either be corrected, or taken offline

    Anonymous
    5 days ago

    yes! tangigi fish is Spanish mackerel. Scientific Name scamburomorus commerson. It’s so yummy! good for tinulang isda and best seller.

    Anonymous
    2 months ago

    and also tangigi in mindanao. it’s very delicious.

    Anonymous
    2 months ago

    For you who commented “How can Filipinos rename fish? Why not use the correct name for the same fish recognized in other country’s?” It’s called language, dude. Different countries, different languages.

    Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The picture shown for the yellowfin was actually the small ones. You cannot see vividly all those yellow features in its body yet, but it is still a yellowfin. In Davao Region, the big ones are named as Bariles and the smaller ones are named as Barilison, just to differentiate the two by its size.

    For the Tulingan, it is somehow similar to what we call “Bodboron”, they just differ in the marks on the skin. What was shown in the picture is Bodboron, i think. I get confusions for that fish sometimes. Tulingan has stripes on its body, especially for full-grown tulingan.

    Just to add, aside from “Kitang”, we also have “Kitong”. Kitang, as shown in the picture, has round-type body but a bit pointed on mouth. The variation of colors for the spots are red, orange and black. For the Kitong, it has an oblate-type of body from its tail to mouth, greenish skin color and spots.

    Overall, I’d like commend in creating such article. This will be of help to some people doing research. Maybe you could do it with another set of fish, and hope you could incorporate how they are named in other provinces so that it could be more informative.

    Anonymous
    3 months ago

    Threadfin salmon and salmon that is imported are two entirely different families of fish with different taste and texture. This article seems to be full of mis-information and written by someone who does not fish in the Philippines..

    ★★
    3 months ago

    helped me in my research in school

    ★★★★★
    4 months ago

    I Appreciate the photos and Information , ThankU …

    ★★★★
    5 months ago

    the best tasting fish i found in the phoilippines my wife called liftie, it is the only fish i have seen with flat bones

    ★★★
    5 months ago

    another version of fake news

    Anonymous
    6 months ago

    So sad. This article is really misleading.

    You got the wrong picture for the tulingan. They’re silvery black and they look totally different from the picture.

    Another thing is the picture of your yellow fin tuna. Did you even looked at the picture? I don’t see any yellow fins there. The one in the picture is a cheaper variety of tuna.

    Lastly, how can the tawilis be migratory if it lives only in Taal lake? Where does it migrate to?

    6 months ago

    Why emphasized Filipinos renamed fish? All different countries has their own name on anything, that is the reason we have an international language that can be translated into what we call into English or American name. It’s the saying not every thing are the same or not anything are equal . Just learn it in Englis and match it with your own name in your own country.

    Anonymous
    6 months ago

    i love your article very informative especially the english names but i was confused since the one that you included here as danggit was we what used to call as Kitang.

    Anonymous
    7 months ago

    It is not rabbot fish you’ve shown in the picture, instead Scatophagus argus (Linnaeus 1766) locally known as kikiro.

    Anonymous
    7 months ago

    It is not rabbot fish you’ve shown in the picture, instead Scatophagus argus locally known as kikiro.

    Anonymous
    7 months ago

    YOUR TAMBAKOL IS NOT YELLOW FIN TUNA IN YOUR PICTURE .YOU ARE SHOWING A CHEAP VARIETY OF TUNA CALLED GULISAN OR GULYASAN IN BATANGAS.
    YOUR PICTURE OF TULINGAN WHICH BELONG TO THE TUNA FAMILY IS WRONG.TULINGAN DOESN’T HAVE SCALES NEAR THEIR TAILS.YOU ARE SHOWING A MEMBER OF SCAD FAMILY.PLEASE CORRECT SO AS NOT TO CONFUSE READERS.

    Anonymous
    7 months ago

    For people who ask why the Philippines use names not used in other countries for fish, I imagine for like ‘salmon’. Fish common or market names are arbitrary across the world from country to country even with common languages like English. Names like cod, bass, bream etc may refer to fish completely unrelated from one part of the world to another. I’m in London, when we order fish internationally, suppliers clarify and label with the scientific names of the fish species so there is no mistake.

    This article can be improved by adding the scientific names. The other quoted names in English are not really helpful. For example: the salmon or threadfin salmon pictured is known as mackerel for other English speakers in UK or Australia; skipjack and yellowfin are two different fish and are sold in Philippines as two different fish, tambakol is not a catch-all term. Nevertheless, its a good effort and thanks for the work put in.

    ★★★★
    7 months ago

    it is sad that TAWILIS is now marked as endangered. let us not over consume out marine resources, please.

    Anonymous
    7 months ago

    The salmon here is not a threadfin salmon neither a salmon. It is a scomber japonicus a.k.a chub mackerel. When used in tinapa. The fish have been sold in metro manila as “salmon” which is confusing. Occassionally, I even see a fish about the size of a bangus marked as “SALMON TUNAY” and I don’t have an idea what type of fish is that. I think the name salmon have been heavily misuse to gove the customer an impression that they are premium fish. And for the writter, please do more research and don’t relly on fish vendor’s knowledge. Good job for the accurate prices. I just passed by this page because I would like to know if the naming of galunggong babae or lalake is due to sexual dimorphism, or if they are completely different species.

    ★★★
    7 months ago

    Salmon =/= Mackarel and Mackarel =/= Scad

    8 months ago

    Very well presented, very useful. Thank you.

    Anonymous
    8 months ago

    Best to include their scientific names. Citations are important too. 🙂

    ★★★
    9 months ago

    The Kanduli picture does not look like catfish.

    Anonymous
    9 months ago

    How can Filipinos rename fish? Why not use the correct name for the same fish recognized in other country’s?

    Anonymous
    10 months ago

    amazing,,,,

    Anonymous
    10 months ago

    ano ung isda na parang nakababad sa orange pag binili sa palengke? not sure if nakababad sa carrots.

    Anonymous
    10 months ago

    Tulingan does not look like that. 🙂

    Anonymous
    10 months ago

    Those are not danggit (rabbitfish), the ones pictured are kitongs (scats)…..Scatophagus argus – dung eaters. ^_^

    Anonymous
    11 months ago

    Skipjack and yellowfin are different, skipjack is gulyasan and yellowfin is tambakol. Tambakol is more expensive than gulyasan, tulingan doesn’t look like that. Critics are necessary if there are mistakes, blogs like this are created to inform people not confuse them, but thank you for the effort and info.

    Anonymous
    11 months ago

    I really liked it. Knowing the different fish will help me shop. To the critics, prices become outdated quickly but are useful in understanding the difference in price of different varieties.
    I would give this 5 stars if the article included which fish had large bones and thus easy to eat.

    ★★★★
    12 months ago

    Super! Nice overview! superb pictures! Well organized! Down to the point! Thanks!
    Bart – Belgium

    Don’tt worry about the comment of some people! People who do nothing, who make no website,
    who can’t do an effort….have the most critic remarks! Focus on the good comments! It’s superb,
    believe me! (and I am a writer-author, so I can know it! 🙂 )

    ★★★★★
    12 months ago

    the picture of tulingan fish shows “galunggong babae” tulingan fish is a lot more comparable to tambakol..

    Anonymous
    12 months ago

    what is Patikan fish

    Anonymous
    12 months ago

    You better get your price facts straight.

    12 months ago

    That is not tulngan pictured above.

    Anonymous
    2 years ago

    the genuine tawilis (the freshwater fish found in taal lake) is a lot more expensive than their saltwater cousins. their price is around P150 per kilo in batangas province, probably twice that in metro manila- if you’re lucky to find one.

    Anonymous
    2 years ago

    ’twas ok..some errors in spelling and grammar but acceptable.
    yellowfin (and possible others) were erroneously named.
    the yellowfin tuna is a much more expensive, tastier and MUCH larger fish.

    ★★★
    2 years ago
    What do you think about this article?
    ★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★

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